If you are like most people, one of your New Year’s Resolutions probably has to do with getting back in to shape. According to this survey, 65% of people want to exercise more and 54% of people want to lose weight this year. While these are great goal, many people often get discouraged or overwhelmed a few weeks into the year. Here’s some tips to help you meet your goal safely and effectively this year:
Set reasonable small goals yourself. If you haven’t exercised in months, don’t expect to easily slip back in to your old workout routine. Overdoing it initially can lead to mental fatigue and possible injury. Start with what’s comfortable for you and if that’s just 15 minutes once a week, that’s okay! Increase either the duration, frequency or intensity of your workouts every two weeks until you are at your ideal schedule. Try to work yourself up to 30 minutes of exercise 3-4x/week. According to the Mayo Clinic, adults should aim for 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity per week.
Change up your routine. Whether you love lifting or cardio, it’s important to have a mix of both. Your weekly routine should have a good mix of cardiovascular endurance, resistance training, and flexibility. Try different types of cardio and rotate through areas of the body for resistance training to ensure your working multiple muscle groups. This will ensure you are balancing your activity and not overdoing one muscle group.
Focus on form and stretching. It’s important to not neglect these aspects in order to avoid injury. Always keep control and focus on breathing. Before a workout, do some dynamic stretching to warm up your body. Try some static stretches after a workout to stretch the muscles you just worked. Stretching will keep muscles limber and help you avoid cramps and strains which may take weeks to recover from.
Rest and recover. When you work your muscles, you create small tears in the muscle fibers which allow the muscle to grow as your body repairs them. Give muscles a break. Resting is crucial to your body’s recovery. Don’t do an intense abdominal routine 3 days in a row, because then your body won’t be able to recover. Try focusing on a different muscle group during each workout. It also means focusing on resting and recovering outside the gym as well. This means getting enough sleep (ideally 7-8 hours a night), drinking enough water and making time for your mental health as well.
At the end of the day, getting into shape is a lifestyle change so make sure you are incorporating exercise realistically into your lifestyle. Additionally, if you encounter sharp pain or swelling that does not recede within 3 days, consider seeing a physical therapist to assess the situation. If you don’t know where to start or are recovering from an injury, you can make an appointment with us to create a customized exercise plan.